The State Worker

Jon Ortiz chronicles civil-service life for California state workers

From the notebook: See a copy of a suicide-watch form

08/01/2014 2:44 PM

08/01/2014 2:46 PM

Our report in today’s fiber/cyber Bee looks at union allegations that psychiatric technicians at California Health Care Facility in Stockton were ordered to falsify “suicide precaution” forms that record court-ordered checks on inmate welfare. California Association of Psychiatric Technicians says the mental unit is understaffed, so psychiatric technicians are too busy performing other tasks, which fostered an environment that encouraged reporting of patient checks that weren’t done.

The facility opened last year to help improve inmate medical care, but stopped taking new admissions earlier this year while it grappled with a number of staffing, management and supply problems. New patient intake resumed last month after J. Clark Kelso, the federally-appointed receiver who manages prison medical care, said the facility had corrected the problems.

The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians says the facility remains understaffed, and the union is considering picketing the Stockton facility in protest.

Here’s a redacted copy of a Suicide Watch/Suicide Precaution form like those that were falsified. Look for the highlighted line that shows the legally required policy that inmate patients be checked no less than five times per hour.

About This Blog

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at or 916-321-1043. Twitter: @TheStateWorker.


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